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Confessions of a ginger junky

Confessions of a ginger junky

Contrary to popular belief, many dietitians (like myself), do not spend their entire lives prepping and planning meals. While we may peruse the grocery store a bit longer than the average bear, we like short cuts just as much as the next shopper. We’re busy wives and moms with work to do, too!

It was probably a few years ago that I discovered the simplest trick to seasoning my food. I am, hands down, a ginger junky. I’d always loved the spicy taste of ginger but found fresh ginger root to be a wee bit too spicy and less than convenient to use to grate and add to food. While buying “jarlic” (minced garlic in a jar), I found ginger paste!

Ginger paste (made by Spice World or Garden Cuisine) is a combination of ginger, fructose, vinegar and salt. It has a few other innocuous preservatives and contains 15 calories per tsp. It’s available in a 10 oz. tube or 4 oz. tube in the refrigerated section of the store, depending on the brand. Ginger paste has the consistency of applesauce and has a fairly long shelf life. I prefer the 10 oz. version because you get much more for your money.

This simple spice trick can be used in oatmeal, marinades, vegetables, fish or sweet potatoes. I’ve added it to leftover quinoa with cinnamon and chopped almonds for breakfast or tossed it in my stir fry. It’s one spice I always have on hand.

Dessert hummus review

Dessert hummus review

There’s a push to eat more “pulses” (read beans, lentils) because they are so damn good for your gut and heart in addition to being convenient and easy on the wallet. Beans are loaded with fiber, especially the soluble type that lowers blood cholesterol, helps manage blood sugar and keeps good gut bacteria thriving. Love them or hate them, this bean trend is not going away any time soon. Know how I know? Chocolate hummus. That’s right. A Shark Tank product called “Delighted by Hummus” is being copied by a few other brands. Boar’s Head (the maker of lunch meat and cheese) was the brand I found at my local Kroger.

I was skeptical at first. I pictured traditional hummus (full of garlic and lemon) being blended with cocoa and/or coconut oil and tasting WEIRD. But with all food, I kept an open mind and decided to try it. Here is the run down:

The hummus contains 80 calories for 2 Tsp. and 4.5 grams of fat, which is 50% of the total calories, but most of the fat is unsaturated (not harmful saturated or trans fat). It’s low in sodium with only 40 mg and provides 10 grams of carbs, 6 of which are sugar (1 1/2 tsp). It contains 3 grams of fiber, which is a nice dose for a “dessert”. It’s not very high in protein, but most people don’t think of protein when they think of dessert.

I would liken the taste to pudding. It was soft, smooth and creamy. It paired well with strawberries, bananas and graham crackers. I could see adding some cashews, pecans or other nuts mixed in to give it some texture.The cost was higher and container smaller than traditional hummus ($3.99 for 8 oz. or 2 for $7.00 with a Kroger card).

Would I buy it again? Maybe. It would make a nice substitute for chocolate pudding if that’s your thing. But like any other dessert, moderation is key. Eat the whole thing and you’ve consumed over 600 calories in hummus. My next move? Stay tuned while I attempt to make the stuff myself!

Indian One Pot

Indian One Pot

Happy Spring!  Yup- I said Spring.  Even though your kids may be out of school and temps are warming up, it’s not quite summer and we’ve had some lovely cool weather this spring in Cincinnati.  I may not want soup, but Indian food always satisfies.


My husband and I discovered this awesome Indian simmer sauce at Aldi.  Now before you go screaming “high sodium, high fat!”, hear me out.  Products vary from sauce to sauce.  The Jalfrezi sauce has only 80 calories and 5 grams of fat per cup and 360 mg sodium.  When you consider all the yummy, healthy stuff you can add to it, this seems like a pretty good compromise.  And, it will cost you about $2.50 per jar and makes at least 4 servings, which will save you from spending $11-14 per entree at your favorite Indian restaurant.


I am all about simple, healthy meals and this has become a favorite at least twice a month. You can toss just about any vegetable into it, but I like frozen green beans, diced tomatoes and carrot coins for color. This recipe is also great for meatless Monday since you can use garbanzo beans or kidney beans as your protein source.  I add onions and various bell peppers, which add color and flavor as well as vitamin C and other antioxidants.  For vegetarians, iron absorption (from plants) is enhanced when combined with a food (like tomatoes or peppers) that contain vitamin C.  Win win!


We’ve made the recipe with leftover chicken as well, but honestly- the beans add a boatload of soluble fiber and taste great mixed with all the veggies.  Give it a whirl!   #aldi #simmer #sauce #dinner @AldiUSA


1 (15 oz) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 (15 oz.) can unsalted diced tomatoes (not drained)

1/2 onion, chopped

1 cup frozen green beans

3 carrots, chopped or 1 cup frozen carrot coins

1 bell pepper (red or yellow), chopped

1 (16 oz.) jar Aldi Jalfrezi sauce


  1.  In a medium sauce pan, add diced tomatoes, carrots, bell peppers, onions and kidney beans and stir.
  2. Add entire jar of Jalfrezi sauce to vegetables.  Stir and simmer for ~30 minutes until carrots are soft.
  3. Serve over brown rice or quinoa.

Makes 4 (1 cup) servings.  Nutrition information per serving (does not include rice): 242 calories, 6 grams fat, 10 grams protein, 41 grams carbohydrate, 8 grams fiber, 0 mg cholesterol, 480 mg sodium.



Spinach Blueberry Salad with Mukamame & Pistachios

Spinach Blueberry Salad with Mukamame & Pistachios

This simple salad is great for spring or summer.  I had the chance to work with Litehouse foods to develop a few recipes and this was one I created. Spinach and blueberries boast cancer-fighting phytochemicals as well as potassium and fiber.  Mukamame (shelled green soybeans) provide protein, fiber and texture.  Paired with Litehouse bleu cheese dressing and pistachios, this recipe will become a repeated favorite.  Add grilled chicken or fish to make it a complete meal!  #SeetheLite  #sponsored


10 oz. baby spinach, washed and spun dry

1 pint fresh blueberries, cleaned and dried

1 cup Mukamame (shelled green soybeans)- thawed if frozen

½ cup chopped pistachios

½ cup Litehouse bleu cheese dressing



Place the spinach in a medium sized bowl.  Add blueberries and soybeans.  Drizzle Litehouse dressing over salad.  Add chopped pistachios over the dressing and serve.


Makes 8 servings:  Nutrition facts per serving:  162 calories, 12 grams fat, 1.6 grams saturated fat, 11.7 grams carbohydrate, 3.5 grams fiber, 4.6 grams protein, 4.8 mg cholesterol, 178 mg sodium.

Will you love ALOVE yogurt?

Will you love ALOVE yogurt?

Move over Greek yogurt, there’s a new kid in town and it’s not the Icelandic variety.  The Expo West food trade show in Anaheim California will be graced with the new yogurt’s debut.  The yogurt is from Japan’s dairy industry Morinaga.  Although the Japanese style yogurt has been around since 1994, it will make its entrance into the American market this year.

The Japanese yogurt, branded Alove, is different than the current Greek-style yogurt in a few ways. For one, it’s got a much lighter, thinner texture than its thicker counterpart.  It also has aloe vera cubes suspended in the yogurt.  Forecasters of food trends note that consumers have a new love interest in Japanese style foods, which Whole Foods dubs “Japanese food beyond Sushi”.  In a 12-state survey of over 500 men and women aged 18-59, 80% of yogurt consumers desire a new food experience.  Of 60% of survey respondents, those who consume yogurt often or are most health conscious show interest in purchasing the new style yogurt.

Sale of Morinaga’s Alove yogurt will start in the West coast, considering California and other states have more Chinese, Japanese and Korean grocers.  Morinaga currently sells aseptic tofu in the US and will use its channels to join national conventional grocers in addition to natural and specialty stores. In addition to modifying the package design, the text was translated to English and the picture on the carton simplified to an aloe plant.  And like many brands in the US, the package is simple and clean to attract nutrition savvy consumers.

Be Kaleful!  Kale Yes!

Be Kaleful! Kale Yes!

Be Kaleful! Kale Yes!

While visiting Chicago with my little sis recently, we came upon this groovy street fare, complete with vintage art prints, tempered glass jewelry, music and original food. Among the vendors were food ambassadors from Rhythm Superfoods out of Austin, Texas. If you’re not familiar with a food “ambassador”, it is one of those friendly people you may see at a festival or the zoo that gives out product samples. They gave us a free sample pouch of kale chips, which I didn’t try until I returned home.

I know what you’re thinking- kale chips, seriously? But seriously. These chips were surprisingly crunchy and seasoned just right. I tried the original first (they were generous and gave me a ranch pouch, too). The serving size provided 100 calories and 6 grams of fat, which is 40% less fat than potato chips. In addition, the sodium count was pretty low for a bagged snack food, containing a mere 170 mg per serving. Most chips, pretzels or popcorn can be pretty sodium heavy. In addition, each 100 calorie bag of USDA organic kale provides 3 grams of dietary fiber and 4 grams protein. Not too shabby.

That little white pouch in the picture reminds me of the silica pack you’d find in your tennis shoes box to keep out moisture. It is not the same stuff and is safe to be in the bag with the kale.

The roasted kale chips come in multiple flavors including original, roasted garlic and onion, ranch and chili lime. The company also makes beet chips. Beets are the new black my friends!

As to where to buy them, you can find them on or at Check them out if you see them. They are #nutrigirlapproved!

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